Stoking your own flame

Our church just finished its Vacation Bible School and it was a great time. We had lots of kids turn out every night, great messages and lots of faithful VBS workers. Everyone had fun. Before the start of day two, while pastor and I were headed to the Dollar General to get pool noodles and a beach ball for pool noodle field hockey, he told me that the key to a great VBS is to keep the kids active the whole time. You don’t want any dead time because then the kids get bored and restless. That puts pressure on the workers to try to come up with something for a bunch of bored and restless kids and that keeps workers from volunteering for next year because the biggest fear of most VBS workers is having to come up with ways to entertain bored and restless kids. Thankfully, that was never a problem at our VBS. The kids always had something to do. (The bounce houses at the end of the week were a huge hit, by the way).

Why do you have to keep the kids entertained? Part of it is their maturity level. Kids have tons of energy, but they need help focusing it because either they don’t know what to do with themselves or they get into trouble. When our kids were little, we always knew that if they got quiet and it wasn’t nap time, they were up to something. Kids need parents to guide them and to teach them how to use their time and energy toward constructive ends. With adults, you expect them to be self-directed and self-motivated. An adult (generally speaking) knows how to use his/her time and energy in a mature way and without a lot of supervision. You expect adults to be self-motivated and self-reliant. It comes with age and maturity.

At our VBS, every grown up had a job, most of the time several. My wife and I were in charge of s’mores. That meant keeping a fire going because fire roasted marshmallows beat microwaved ones any day. That also meant that when everyone was inside for the message, someone had to stay by the fire to keep it going. That was my job. I could still hear the messages (sort of), but my task was to keep the fire stoked and under control. David, while he was on the run from King Saul had to do the same kind of thing in his heart. He had to keep his own spiritual fire going. At a particularly low point in his time on the lam, his own people were turned against him, threatening to kill him. Everyone was against him, literally. Rather than lash out or give up, David “encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” He did not allow his flame to be put out. With no one around to support him, he turned to His God for strength. That is the mark of someone who is spiritually mature (or maturing). They learn to counsel themselves with God’s truth and to find their strength in Him. They know how to stoke their own flame. A test of our own spiritual maturity is to gauge how we respond when life backs us into a corner. Do we let our fire die, or do we know how to stoke our own flames?

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Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

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